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Archaeologists to return Crowland later this year to resume digs on site connected to St Guthlac



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Archaeologists will be returning this summer to further explore a site which is connected to St Guthlac.

A team of students from Newcastle and Sheffield Universities uncovered the foundations of a high status building along with rare finds during a dig in a field outside Crowland last summer.

The excavation on Abbey Church Field received national exposure last week when it featured on the BBC’s Digging for Britain programme.

Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163310)
Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163310)

Medieval specialists Dr Duncan Wright and Dr Hugh Willmott, led the dig and are planning to return to continue excavations for three weeks in the summer and were pleased to feature in the programme.

Dr Wright said: “It was really good for the project and Crowland as well as the larger story of the town.

“Just as important to us is the fantastic support that we have received from the local community and we have a really good relationship with the local farmer.

Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163317)
Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163317)

“For us it raises the profile, we have a relatively short segment but with more people seeing it the more people will look out for the future of this story.

“We are hoping for more success this year.”

This area has long been associated with St Guthlac - a former solider who went to live in isolation in hermitage on the island of Crowland following a profound conversion in the late seventh century.

Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163324)
Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163324)

The two-week excavation in August found the foundations of a high status building along with a comb from the Guthlac period and a human poo – or coprolite – believed to be from the Saxon era.

Archaeologists also found a number of pieces of worked flint - which ties in with the Guthlac story which states that he made his home in an old barrow - and vast amounts of Roman pottery.

A number of the finds discovered in Crowland will be sent over to specialists for further investigation.

Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163327)
Duncan Wright at the archaeological dig in Crowland (54163327)

When the team returns in the summer, they will be focussing their attention on the high status building.

Dr Wright said: “This year is even more compelling as we have an enigmatic east west orientation of the building.

“The orientation of the building could suggest that it is a church building, we will be focussing to find out if it is a church or several churches as we know there was a lot of rebuilding in this period.

“It is really important and we can potentially develop what we know from the documentation of the life of St Guthlac which was written in such detail after his lifetime.”



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